South Coast - Part 3
An unusual start to the day
Report by Martin Longhurst
Instead of returning to Poole as planned on Monday 7 September 2009, Waverley headed for Weymouth. She was due to be refuelled on Tuesday morning but unfortunately the tanker arrived with gas oil rather than fuel oil which meant that the day’s sailing was lost. She resumed her schedule on Wednesday, spending the night alongside at Swanage. She sailed light for Portsmouth on Thursday morning.
Passengers arriving at Portsmouth Harbour Station on Thursday were first told the sailing had been cancelled and then directed to the Gosport Ferry Pontoon next door. This was brought about because only one berth was available at the Station Pier due to rebuilding work and the remaining berth was required to maintain the ferry service during the build-up to the Bestival event on the Isle of Wight.
About 09.50 the Spirit of Portsmouth left her berth at Gosport and tied up across the north end of the pontoon. A long queue of Waverley passengers slowly filed on board the two decked green and white vessel. Shortly we slipped our mooring and headed north up the Harbour passed the entire British fleet of aircraft carriers (3) to find the Waverley moored in the Continental Ferry Port opposite Norman Venture. The ferry was carefully manoeuvred alongside the paddler and a gangway put across. With everyone aboard, Captain O’Brian took the paddler astern towards the North Wall where she was turned by the tug Gary James before heading out of the Harbour and on to Yarmouth.
All the extra stages had put the steamer about an hour behind schedule, a situation which was to remain the same for the rest of the day. The day was blessed with blue skies and generally calm seas but with a cool easterly breeze. During the day many VIPs were aboard including PSPS Secretary Anderson and WEL Director McKendrick.
After Yarmouth the steamer headed for Bournemouth, Swanage and Lulworth Cove. Loadings were good throughout. Robin Wall, the Chief Officer, gave us an interesting, erudite and amusing commentary, mentioning that the Assistant Purser’s reading included material by Enid Blyton. We had some exceptionally fine close views of the Jurassic Coast on the westward leg but had to go out to sea to clear the Firing Range Safety Zone as the Army were about to resume operations. There was a jabble running as we returned to Swanage which entertained Philip Cade tremendously. He had taken full advantage of the special offer in Bournemouth whereby Yellow Bus passengers can obtain a £2 discount off their Waverley fare.
The sun set as we passed through Hurst Narrows on our approach to Yarmouth. To avoid the problems at Portsmouth, the return leg was routed to Southampton, with passengers returned to our starting point by coach.
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